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COURTS   OF   PARIS,   NAPLES,    ETC.                329

mity of the island. A line of breakers thundering
over a sand-bank stopped us at low water, and
our boat could not proceed; so we stripped and
waded ashore, in spite of sharks and alligators,
and walked two miles on a fine sandy beach,
tinder the shade of the mangroves which line
several miles of this low coast.

We then climbed up a rock of solid pitch,
and wandered to a kind of wild village of French
mulatto people; found a place to get a breakfast
of eggs and coffee, among gardens of pine-apples
and fruit trees, which had been the original
object of the settlers before they thought of
making sugar.

The soil, or rather the floor, of all these plan-
tations, paths and house, is nothing but sheer
pitch, not harder than a tub of common pitch left
in the sun.

This is quite a narrow peninsula, formed by a
bituminous lava, flowing about two-thirds of a
mile from a vast lake of the same materials, con-
siderably elevated above the level of the sea. It
is some miles in extent, surrounded by woods and
estates of no great importance. The ground is
hard everywhere, but intersected by cracks and
ditches, full of clear, cold water, all communicating
together; and near the centre is a pool of about